Keep Calm And Explore The World

Today I’m going to talk about travel. And writing, of course. But first travelling. Travel is such a wonderful thing. Experiencing foreign cultures, learning new languages. Sampling wonderful cuisine. There is nothing like it. My ambition however is not to be a travel writer. But I would love to travel and write. Having travelled since I was young, I do wonder if this has contributed to my writing? Would it contribute? Does one need to travel to become a better writer? Of course not. There are many gifted writers out there that have never left their hometown. It is not everyone’s wish to travel, after all.  However I feel that for me personally, travelling lights a fire within. It ignites a spark. It may even be a muse.

I was 26 when I went to Paris. Ahh…Paris….

Even saying the word makes me want to sit in a quaint coffee shop and write. In French. Beret is optional.

That really is me...Paris left a romantic impression on my heart. I think of Paris and I see 2 people madly in love,  in a 60’s movie. Now, romance is not my writing style. I don’t even read romance novels but there is something about a black and white movie set in Paris circa 1962 that makes me want to be a screenwriter.

And then there was Greece. Oh…oh how I love Greece. I have been there 3 times. Being half Greek has nothing to do with it. I love Greece and I would live there in a heartbeat. The people, the way they live. Siestas! Retsina! The amazing architecture. I love how they talk to you as if they have known you all your life. The Greek dancing! Nothing like it.

The Mediterranean is glorious, isn’t it?

The first time I travelled was with my parents. I was 12 and we went to Brazil. We  stayed for 3 months.  My father, who is Brazilian, hadn’t seen his family for 13 years at that point so it was a very exciting and emotional trip. When you travel at that age you are able to comprehend the differences in cultures and lifestyle. It is, in a way, culture shock. But I wasn’t shocked. I was inspired. My young mind was absorbing everything. I was always a curious child anyway so this experience only highlighted and developed that curiosity. I truly believe that this holiday is what planted the travel seed in my heart. Because it had only grown from there. It inspired me to live overseas. I lived in London for 5 years in my early 20’s.

Travel has contributed to my life experiences. Without that combination, I would not be the person I am today.

So. Enough of nostalgia. Back to my original question.  Has travel contributed to my writing? Only I can answer that. And I believe it has. Going through all of my short stories, I’ve noticed that not one of them is set in Australia, where I lived at the time of writing them. It was always London, New York. Paris. Even my current project is being set in different parts of the world.

I don’t think that if I had not travelled I wouldn’t write because I have always loved to write. But I do think that travel has given me an edge. You know, that certain je ne sais quoi (sorry, couldn’t resist!).

So, have your past experiences influenced the writer you are today? Do you write because of them; in spite of them?

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About Virginia

Writer, reader, crossword puzzler and conspiracy theorist.

13 Responses to “Keep Calm And Explore The World”

  1. I thought this post today was very good. Sometimes I think my past is so unanswering to the many questions I have and other times I embrace every move I made. My quest is to stop questioning and start living – the answers will come if I open up to my energy and believe in myself. I find myself writing a lot about my past experiences, for me it’s more emotional writing, as in I write about how I felt at a particular time rather than where I was.

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    • Thanks for commenting and for sharing your thoughts. Im the same in that I tend to write from feeling and emotion in many of my short stories. When I think back to my travels, it stirs a feeling like no other within me and then out comes a piece of work. Well, its not that simple but Im sure you know what I mean! 🙂

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  2. I would love to travel! I’ve never been out of the country, but I keep telling myself that someday I will travel around the world.

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  3. Hey Virginia, I totally agree. I love travelling. It opens your mind! The younger you get out of your world the better. My parents took me to Jamaica for the first time when I was around 12… definitely changed me and probably made me who I am today!

    And with reference to writing/travel thing, I started my literary writing on a holiday in Greece. Great post!

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  4. I just nominated you for one of these Kreativ Blogger Award things!?
    Take a bow.

    http://seanjrankine.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/kreativ-blogger-award/

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  5. a very very very beautiful article great great great work 🙂

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  6. I think what happens is that all your experiences as you travel inform your perspective on the world which in turn informs your writing. Thanks for this post.

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